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August 27, 2006



It comes across as being as informative for reviews as CitySearch or the City Guide on the Washington Post site. The only apparent added benefit (beyond the fact that the restaurants are in NY and not in DC and are, therefore, inevitably better) appears to be that you might, as you suggest, start to identify those reviewers who have similar viewpoints to your own (i.e., they judge a restaurant by how good the food tastes and not by how cool it makes them to be seen there).

It's like having "friends" on Netflix isn't it? Unfortunately, the primary revelation that service has provided is that I now know that a few too many of my friends have REALLY bad taste in films. Of course, Netflix more recently has developed a measurement to show how much your own ratings correlate with those of your friends. I am considering using it as a tool to weed out those friends who just don't hack it anymore. ;)

Have you seen ThisNext.com? Another shopping through recommendations site that I've been using recently (I'm trying to find a new bookbag.)


Very interesting write-up, John.

At Menutopia, we're really trying to capture the wisdom of crowds to get the most accurate information (objective AND subjective) for restaurants.

It's also interesting that Allison mentions the concept of friends. On Menutopia, members can keep a friend list. In addition to viewing the overall community rating for each restaurant, you see the friend rating. This is aggregated from all of your friends who have rated the restaurant, which should give you trustworthy ratings (if you trust your friends!).

Of course, we're still a young site (going on our second week) so we'll be refining and developing the rating system in response to user feedback.

FYI: I linked here from the Menutopia Behind the Scenes site: http://menutopia.squarespace.com/menutopia-mentions/


Hey, I just found another restaurant site via PSFK that also focuses on NY restaurants AND has video. Savory NYC is the site. But the reviews on the site are from established sources (from NY Times to CitySearch to AOL Guide) AND the video is from the perspective of the restauranteur and not the diner. Major disappointment.

John Bell

Dan - thanks for your comment. i am really looking forward to how menutopia develops. I think in this case, the 'wisdom of friends' will be more powerful than the crowd or the effete newspaper (I can believe I just used those two words together) reviewer.

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